WNBA Teams Go With Smaller Venues To Create More Intimacy
There has been a move over the past few years within the WNBA to "downsize venues that will save franchises money and provide a more intimate experience for the fans," according to Doug Feinberg of the AP. Next season, only four of 12 teams "will be playing in current NBA arenas," while all franchises "were in NBA venues" when the league started 22 years ago. It seems that the "perfect-sized venue for the WNBA as far as economics and fan experience is roughly an 8,000-seat arena such as the Mohegan Sun," where the Connecticut Sun play. WNBA President Lisa Borders said that the league has "hired an innovation and brand design consulting firm to come up with a wide-ranging five-year strategic plan and that everything is on the table, including looking at venues and venue size." The "biggest move this offseason" was in N.Y., with the Liberty going from MSG to the Westchester County Center. The change of venue for the Liberty "saves millions of dollars in operating costs" for the team because MSG "costs nearly 20 times as much to play in." While the Liberty "can’t even fill up the smaller arena, drawing around 1,700 fans on average at Westchester this season, it’s financially working out better." The Washington Mystics also are "moving into a new building next year that will have a capacity of just 4,200." The Las Vegas Aces are "playing in the Mandalay Bay Events Center, which is configured for just under 8,000 fans" (AP, 7/9).